Washington, D.C., April 6 – Last month, the United States Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 with a rare, unanimous vote. The proposed legislation would make daylight saving time permanent effective on November 5, 2023, meaning that Americans would no longer have to change their clocks twice a year.
Proponents of the legislation argue that the time change causes an increase in car accidents and reduces productivity. According to Quartz, “researchers have seen a consistent pattern of car crashes increasing in the days after the switch to daylight saving time, when people lose an hour of sleep, and decreasing in the fall when people gain an hour.” Extra light in the evening, proponents argue, also would benefit the economy as people would be more likely to go out and spend money.
The main argument from detractors of the legislation is that permanent daylight saving time in the fall season would “force kids to wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast and get to school long before the sun has risen.”
As with every issue, there is a disability angle to daylight saving time. This legislation could benefit those who have been diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), as their symptoms are increased when we turn the clock back an hour in the fall. “When there is a shift in the season and our access to daylight, our bodies struggle to adjust,” Cleveland Clinic psychologist Dr. Susan Albert told Click on Detroit.
Additionally, many people with low vision, like myself, would appreciate the extra light at night. With an extra hour of light, I would feel safer and more motivated to participate in activities after a normal working day. People with disabilities are often left out of the conversation on issues like this, but this is an opportunity to shine some extra light on the subject.